I’m sick and tired of these freeloaders hosing off us. No job, they don’t pay rent, their food is served to them and their clothes are washed and folded. Heck, they don’t even BATHE themselves. Sweet life, huh? They literally have to do nothing to earn their keep but be cute every once in a while, and even that’s not mandatory. I’m insanely jealous. They fight with each other, they just chuck their dirty underwear wherever they see fit, and they whine an awful lot. Sure, they’ve got a lot going for them – they can be sweet, they make me laugh, and they make for a great excuse to watch G rated digital animation – but that can only take them so far.
There comes a time in every child’s life when they have to start earning their keep. For my kids, that time is now. They now must do chores, or face the consequences (no reward at the end of the week and a look of grave disappointment from their mother). Dun dun duuuuun.
They’re 3.5 and 6, which is old enough for some simple tasks that help the household run, teach them responsibility, earn them a sense of pride through accomplishment, and allow them to feel as though they contribute. And, because they’re 3.5 and 6 and I’m not an idiot, if that isn’t motivation enough, a small reward at the end of the week surely is.
You’ll notice these are mostly completely GHETTO fabulous. Sharpie on a piece of the kids’ construction paper, tracked with their alphabet magnets. You’d never know I’d spent hours researching different ideas found on Pinterest.
Most of what they are assigned is the same as each other – dishes on the counter, put shoes away, wash toothpaste down the sink, flush the toilet EVERY TIME. Just little things that we as adults do (or SHOULD do) without thinking, but that can be frustrating if they’re not done. They must tidy their own rooms, but I’ve told them to just worry about the toys. I’ll do their beds (mostly because I don’t have the PATIENCE to teach a 3 year old how to make a bed) and put away their clothes (because an unorganized and disheveled drawer drives me NANNERS).
Then there are a few things that are unique. Avery’s weekday job is to feed Bosco his dinner and Eirinn’s weekday job is to help set the table. Avery’s weekend jobs are to put away the groceries that go in the cupboard and to dust the living room. Eirinn must put away the groceries in the fridge and wipe down the kitchen table.
And then, at the end of the week, if they’ve done all their weekday chores and all their weekend chores, I’ll get them a reward. Something very small, like a candy bar or a colouring book, that will serve as motivation. Like I said, it’s pretty hard to convince someone who is barely out of toddler age that “responsibility and contributing to the functionality of the household” is reason enough to flush their poop. You may say it’s teaching them all the wrong things, that they should be doing these things because they’re told or because learning these chores is simply a part of growing up, but let’s start out with some realism. Would anyone work without some sort of personal motivation? That’s basically what a paycheck is, right grownups?
We’re two full days in and it’s going swimmingly (yes, I just said that) and if I know anything, it’s that kids are completely predictable, so if it’s worked for two days, we’re set for life. … I don’t know. Maybe it will stick, maybe it won’t, but what I do know is that I’m sick of picking up their tiny Barbie shoes and they can do that crap themselves. If I have to buy them a dollar store book for a week off of clean up duty, that’s money well spent.